Life Skills / Early Childhood Learning / Ages 2-7

5 Favorite Preschool Skills to Practice at Home

No child enters preschool knowing how to function like an independent student from day one. But with a little practice, they'll be on their way.

No child enters preschool knowing how to function like an independent student from day one. So preschool teachers are used to supporting their students a lot. But you can make a teacher’s life easier—and support your child to become more independent—by giving your kid plenty of chances to “do it themselves” at home.

Here are five favorite preschool skills to practice, practice, practice.


Putting on their own coat.

Has your kid mastered the jacket flip yet? It’s a great trick—and they’ll be so proud when they can do it themselves.


Winning and losing with a good attitude.

We’ve been there, so we know: Letting your preschooler win every game you play with them will make your life easier in the short run. But it won’t help them out in the classroom, where their friends won’t go easy on them during Go Fish. When you play at home, let them lose sometimes—and model graciousness however the game ends.


Knowing their full name—and starting to write it, too.

Some preschoolers are ready to write letters, while others aren’t yet. But when they’re ready, the first word they’ll learn to write is probably their own name. Start by making sure they know what it is, including middle and last names. At home, help them build their writing muscles by holding and drawing with markers and crayons.


Being bored and entertaining themselves.

Pro tip: You don’t have to play with your kid all the time. In fact, you’re actually helping them when you don’t. Let them get bored. Let them figure it out. (And once they’re playing on their own, whatever you do…do not interrupt. Back away, pick up your coffee, and consider yourself winning at parenting.)


Taking care of personal hygiene.

Handwashing with soap, brushing their teeth, and using the potty on their own: Your preschooler doesn’t need to do all these things independently right now, but the more practice opportunities you give them at home, the better.


And one skill to forget about for now: Tying their own shoes. 

Three and four year olds are just too young to have the fine motor skills to do this on their own. Don’t sweat it: Stick to velcro sneakers and worry about shoe-tying in elementary school.

Get the Guide by email

You’ll get early access to our newest resources, timely tips on how to support your child, and more!

Sign Up